Deep Silver was cool enough to get the staff at saintsrowmods.com access to a special press preview build of Saints Row IV, which myself and Minimaul have been playing the hell out of it for the past couple of days. So, what exactly is this preview build? It is a small chunk of the game that includes the first 6 missions, the full open world with about half of the available activities, and only the Blast, super sprint, and super jump powers. First things first, I'm not going to spoil any story stuff at all. You can go ruin the beginning of the story for yourself at any of the other big sites if you are so inclined. What I will do though is supplement my original article with details and things that I missed the first time around in LA. That's the kind of stuff that the hardcore fans really want to know, right? NOTE: Unfortunately I can't use any of my screenshots or videos in this article as per the terms of the embargo. Since you'll be able to see all of the same boring press kit pics on every other site, I'm not going to bother including them. OPEN WORLD A lot has changed since the early alpha build that I played back in April. There are quite a few new npcs in the open world, which really helps bring the city to life and give it a variety that was sorely lacking in Saints Row: The Third. In fact, I'd say about half of the npcs are new and the other half are the previous SRTT ones. The civilian NPCs also fought back on quite a few occasions which definitely spiced things up. The city itself has a ton of additional details that were not present in the LA build. There are signs that flicker and change, and a lot of other interesting areas and details that I found while poking around in the open world. I'm still a bit saddened by the lack of explorable interiors, but it's less of a problem now that Steelport itself is more interesting to roam around in. CLOTHING AND CUSTOMIZATION The clothes... where do I even start. If you like playing pretty princess dressup (and c'mon who doesn't) you will find a lot to love in Saints Row IV. Volition have pretty much gone completely insane and doubled the amount of clothing that was in the previous game. These new clothes aren't just 10 subtle variations of a button-down, either. There are jedi robes, elvis jumpsuits, boba fett armor, skeleton suits, android suits, crazy headgear, dragon ball hair, sci-fi style outfits, and tons of t-shirts and hoodies with awesome logos like the Stilwater U Skeeters and the Ultor corporation. There is also a large selection of new normal looking clothes for players who aren't into the crazy stuff. The variety is amazing, and even eyeglasses have a lot of clear styles now (not just darkened sunglasses like in SRTT.) There is even a monocle! I certainly wasted no time in buying it, as any true gentleman would. All of the SRTT DLC clothing looks to be included as part of the base game as well! There is a larger selection of tattoos this time, and they are not all terrible! In addition to a handful of new ones, it looks like most of the Saints Row 2 tats have returned including the Brotherhood tribals, and even the special multiplayer unlock ones like the dog paw tracks. There are now 103 hair styles to choose from in SRIV, compared to the 51 in SRTT: 50's Housewife 50's Lady Style 80's Rocker Girl Anime Bad Boy Barely Legal Basic Bob Bob in Eye Boy Cut Braided Pigtails Braided Ponytail Butterfly Clip Cheerleader Chiseled Fro Classic Bob Clean Cut Croydon Facelift Cruise-In Debutante Demure Long Style Disco Businessman Double French Braid Down the Middle Dreaded Pigtails Fauxhawk Feathered Cap Formal Updo Free Love French Braid Fun Bob Graduated Bob Hard Rock Hawked Hime Cut Hollywood Ready Jersey Kabuki Knight of Flowers Kung Fu Braid Layered Bob Layered Straight Long and Layered Long and Parted Long Bouffant Long Wavy Style Loose Pigtails Loose Pony Lopsided Made Man Maero Mullet Marcel Wave Marilyn Curls Marley Monk Off the Shoulder Parted Curtain Pompadour Pompadour Braids Prom Queen Punk Rock Quiff Rasta Regular Cut Revolutionary Rockin' Love Roman Rugged Class Saints Fro Saints Rows Sarge Sci-Fi Sci-Fi Bob Short and Left Short and Right Short and Straight Short and Sweet Short and Wavy Short Hawk Skater Cut Slick Executive Soft Psychobilly Southern Belle Styled Fade Tamed Fro Teen Dream Textured Afro The Barrios The Beehive The Greaser The Mullet The Superhero Tight Pony Topknot Vintage Bob Vintage Cheerleader Vintage Movie Star Vintage Short Waves Vintagle Style Ponytail Vintage Updo Vintage Vixen Voluminous Wall Street Wavy Side Do PLAYER VOICES The female voices that have not been revealed yet are *drumroll please* Female Voice 2 - French (Diane Michelle) Female Voice 3 - Southern (Sumalee Montano) The French accent is amazing. It is really and truly a worthy successor to the Russian one (which I was also a fan of.) The super secret voice is... Nolan North! This isn't just Nolan North doing a male voice though. This is Nolan North referring to himself in the game as Nolan North, our POTUS. It is wildly amusing if you're a fan of any of Nolan's previous work. The rest of the player voices have remained the same from SRTT. Laura Bailey – Female Voice 1 (Caucasian) Troy Baker – Male Voice 1 (Caucasian) Robin Atkin Downes – Male Voice 2 (Cockney) Kenn Michaels – Male Voice 3 (African American) WEAPONS A couple of the new weapons that haven't already been disclosed yet are the Tentacle Bat, and the Abduction gun. The Tentacle Bat is exactly what it sounds like. It's an oddly undulating tentacle stuck on a handle that you can beat people with. It also makes hilariously weird noises, and is a pretty great successor to the dildo bat. The abduction gun lets you paint a target and a UFO style beam of light starts pulling any npcs and cars into the sky that are within its radius; similar to the Heaven Bound cheat from SR2. You can also get yourself caught in the beam if you're too close. Of note, the El Fugitvo skin (guitar case from Desperado) for the Rocket launcher plays flamenco guitar flourishes when you fire it. It made me smile every single time I pulled the trigger. COOP AND SUPERPOWERS Coop was insanely fun, especially after we figured out the cheat codes and were able to unlock all the powers instead of being only limited to just Blast in the preview. Using TK to throw cars at each other (and catch them!) never got old. Also, freeze blast does work on your partner, but TK does not. Freezing your partner, then using the Abduction Ray on them so they go flying up, then TK throwing junk at them and trying to knock them out of mid-air had me laughing like a loon. It is seriously the most fun I have ever had in any Saints Row game. Fighting wardens together in coop was also great fun. NOTORIETY Many commenters on my previous article wanted to know exactly how notoriety works this time. Notoriety rises from hostile actions the same way that it has always worked in the previous Saints Row games. There are 6 bars that fill, so you can see exactly where your notoriety is at instead of just a simple star rating at each level like it was in SRTT. Notoriety is cleared by either hiding out and waiting for it to slowly decrease, destroying the master controller orb, or by raising it all the way up to level 6 which triggers a warden spawn. Beating the warden will then erase all notoriety. Going inside owned stores no longer wipe notoriety, and there are no longer any cribs in the open world either, so you can't just duck inside. Also, health regen is disabled while notoriety is active, but it does start to regenerate back once notoriety is cleared. PERFORMANCE Saints Row IV ran flawlessly on my aging hardware with mostly high settings @1680x1050. I still run a C2D 3Ghz, 4Gb RAM, and an ATI 4870HD w/512 VRAM which should give you a good benchmark on how your rig might do. The crazy thing is that SR4 actually runs better than SRTT ever did and I had at least an extra 10fps or so. I even double checked this and ran both games back to back to confirm. I am also beyond ecstatic to report that the coop lag while riding as a passenger from SRTT is now completely eliminated, even with a very sketchy connection like we had between Las Vegas and the UK. ACTIVITIES The following activities were available in the preview: Insurance Fraud - Playing Insurance Fraud with superpowers is completely hilarious since you can get up to crazy speeds via super sprinting and launch your poor body at 100+mph into buildings. It is hands down the ultimate way to play and makes the previous versions seem tame in comparison. Blazing - Still just as much fun as when I played it in LA. Feels like an amped up successor to the racing diversion in SR2. Mayhem - On foot Mayhem just like the previous three games Tank Mayhem - This time in a hover tank. Not really that much different but still good fun. UFO Mayhem - Mayhem in a Void; one of the new alien vehicles. For some reason I distinctly remember this being a D-Stroy when I played it in April. It was either a placeholder, or my memory is completely fried. Either way, it doesn't look like the D-Story is making a comeback like I originally thought. *cue sad music * There are a few more activities that were not included in the preview like Mech Mayhem, Professor Genki's Mind Over Matter, and one other I can't talk about yet. TARGETS (DIVERSIONS) The following Targets were in the preview. A target is like a short little diversion that helps clean up a part of the city. Flashpoint - The alien version of a Gang Operation from SRTT Virus Injection - The alien version of a survival call from SRTT, but this time on marked locations on the map available at any time Security Deletion - Alien version of a hitman target Chop Shop - Steal a car and bring it back. You know the drill. Each car is unique and gets added to your garage on completion. Tower - climb a huge alien tower and deactivate it Hotspot - Shut down alien generator by first taking out shield nodes that protect it. Pretty fun and challenging. Death Tag - SR2 Death Tag returns! This time with crazy superpowers. It was a complete blast in coop. Cat and Mouse - Everyone's favorite diversion returns from SR2 and SRTT. Some of the matchups were really fun like a hoverbike vs an alien warship. There was also the classic version from SR2 with a Tornado attack heli vs a sportscar. I had some really bad lag on the first day trying to home in on Minimaul, so that's the real reason why I lost terribly. Yep. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. VEHICLES The new VTOL/hoverbike style vehicles like the Void and XOR are astonishingly fast; at least 2-3x faster than the SRTT versions. It is a total rush flying them at top speed through the city, and they are about equal in speed to super sprinting. Also, a lot of people have asked me if superpowers make vehicles useless in the open world. I found that I was using vehicles to get around about 25% of the time and the other 75% with superpowers. Also, the chop shop rewards you get are some of the coolest looking cars I have ever seen. I couldn't even imagine letting them collect dust in my garage. Here is a list of the vehicles I found in the open world. It's quite possible that I may have missed some that have rarer spawns: Returning SRTT vehicles: Ambulance (also in SR and SR2) Anchor (also in SR and SR2) Atlantica Attrazione (also in SR and SR2) Blade Bootlegger (also in SR and SR2) Bulldog (also in SR and SR2) Churchill (also in SR2) Compensator (also in SR2) Criminal Donovan (also in SR2) Emu Estrada (also in SR2) Hammer Hammerhead (also in SR and SR2) Infuego (normal non-monster truck version) Justice (also in SR and SR2) Kenshin (also in SR2) Knoxville (also in SR2) Peterliner (also in SR and SR2) Phoenix (also in SR2) Raycaster (also in SR and SR2) Solar Sovereign Steelport Municipal Temptress (also part of SR2 DLC) Titan (also in SR and SR2) Toad (also in SR2) Torch Oppressor (also in SR2) Thompson (also in SR2) A.B. Destroyer (also in SR2 DLC) Snipes57 (also in SR2) Woodpecker (also in SR2) Saints Row/Saints Row 2 returning vehicles: Betsy Eiswolf Gunslinger Hollywood Mockingbird Pulse (SR2 DLC) Varsity New vehicles: <ASSERT> - alien vehicle <XOR> - alien vehicle Destructor - alien vehicle InfuegoXL (monster truck) Pacemaker - civilian version of the Peacemaker Peacemaker (new design) Taxi (new design) Void - alien vehicle Unfortunately, I may have been mistaken about the La Fuerza making a return in my previous article. I couldn't find one anywhere I searched, and I wonder if I may have originally confused it with an open bed Varsity truck while in LA. STATS PAGE TOTALS Missions: 37 (likely counts the side quests too) Loyalty missions: 7 Activities: 32 Neighborhoods: 17 Hotspots: 6 Flashpoints: 32 Stores Hacked: 34 Audio Logs: 39 Clusters: 1255 Zinyak Statues Destroyed: 36 Text Adventure Pieces: 8 FINAL THOUGHTS Saints Row IV is not a perfect sequel. It still has some glaring flaws like a lack of layers, no new open world interiors, and no mission replay. These problems become less important though when you consider just how much new stuff that Volition has crammed in, and how incredibly fun it is to play; especially in coop. I can't wait to get my hands on the full game again come August 20.